Grinnell Glacier Trail

  • Grinnell Glacier Trail - Grinnell Lake - © Copyright Flickr User Navin75
  • Grinnell Glacier Trail - Grinnell Glacier - © Copyright Flickr User Navin75
  • Grinnell Glacier Trail - Grinnell Mountain - © Copyright Flickr User Acradenia
  • Grinnell Glacier Trail - Grinnell Glacier - © Copyright Flickr User uff da! chronicles
  • Grinnell Glacier Trail - © Copyright Doug Mcmain for NPS
  • Grinnell Glacier Trail - Bighorn sheep on the trail - © Copyright Flickr User jeremy bronson

Key information: Grinnell Glacier Trail

    • A straightforward but high trek from the popular hiking base of Many Glacier up to the largest glacier in the National Park.
      • Climb through stunning alpine scenery to the edge of Upper Grinnell Lake, with a view across Grinnell Glacier to the Salamander ice shelf.
        • Mountain goats and bighorn sheep are regularly seen around Grinnell Glacier; also keep an eye out for grizzly bears wandering below the trail.

Walkopedia rating

  • Walkopedia rating84
  • Beauty35
  • Natural interest17
  • Human interest0
  • Charisma34
  • Negative points2
  • Total rating84

Vital Statistics

  • Length: 16.7km
  • Day or less
  • Maximum Altitude: 2,100m
  • Level of Difficulty: Straightforward
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Grinnell Glacier Trail - © Copyright Doug Mcmain for NPS

WALK SUMMARY

The hike up to Grinnell Glacier is a straightforward but high trek from the popular hiking base of Many Glacier up to the largest glacier in the National Park. The trail climbs through stunning alpine scenery to the edge of Upper Grinnell Lake, with a view across Grinnell Glacier to the Salamander ice shelf. Mountain goats and bighorn sheep are regularly seen in the area, but also keep an eye out for grizzly bears wandering below the trail.

Beginning at the Swiftcurrent picnic area, a short distance from the popular hiking base of Many Glacier campground, the walk follows gentle trails skirting Swiftcurrent and Josephine Lakes, through forests of spruce and fields of wildflowers.

Where the trail branches, with the eastern path heading down towards the lake, follow the winding ascent to the southwest; this takes you high above Grinnell Lake and gives some of the trail's first views. Hikers then negotiate patchy snow, waterfalls and the precipitous mountainside to reach the tree line, before emerging onto the edge of Upper Grinnell Lake.

Take some time to relax in front of the splendour of Glacier National Park's largest, but fast-disappearing, glacier. The Salamander ice shelf can still be seen on the mountainside above; this was once a part of the main glacier, but now rests far above it.

Retrace your steps for the return trip, taking in the stunning valley views.

This is a quick and relatively straightforward walk, and it takes in some of the most stunning scenery Glacier National Park has to offer. However, it also attracts a considerable number of visitors, so don't expect solitude.

Do consider the danger posed by grizzly bears on this walk. Come prepared and follow all official advice. A great source of information is the US National Parks Service site. 

See our Glacier National Park page for detailed practical information and links to other nearby walks.

Other accounts: share your experiences

Your comments on this walk, your experiences and suggestions, and your photos are very welcome. Where appropriate, you will be credited for your contribution.

Grinnell Glacier Trail - Grinnell Glacier - ©Copyright Flickr User Navin75

Safety and problems: All walks have inherent risks and potential problems, and many of the walks featured on this website involve significant risks, dangers and problems. Problems of any sort can arise on any walk. This website does not purport to identify any (or all) actual or potential risks, dangers and problems that may relate to any particular walk.

Any person who is considering undertaking this walk should do careful research and make their own assessment of the risks, dangers and possible problems involved. They should also go to “Important information” for further important information.

Anyone planning an expedition to this place should see further important information about this walk.

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Grinnell Glacier Trail - Grinnell Mountain - ©Copyright Flickr User Acradenia...
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